By Tim Chambers
ELIZABETHTON—The world greatest seesaw ride couldn’t have topped the up and down action between Johnson County and Happy Valley on Monday. The Longhorns scored three times in the 10th inning to prevail 8-5.
It was their second conference win in a row and their second win of the season. Head coach Angela Blevins touched on the game and the emergence of her young squad.
“We were getting runners on in our previous games but couldn’t get that clutch hit when we needed it,” said Blevins. “We’re starting to hit the ball hard and making other teams field it. We’re starting to put the pressure on them and that’s what’s helping us turn things around. This game could have gone either way, but our kids wanted it bad.”
The first three innings was a pitchers’ duel between Johnson County’s Courtney Brooks and Happy Valley’s Callie Davis. Neither team would score until one swing of the bat changed it all.
Walters State signee Emily Whitaker blasted a solo homer in the fourth inning that gave the Valley a 1-0 advantage.
Johnson County fought back and tied the game in the fifth on an RBI single by Lindsey Willis scoring courtesy runner Carlyn Eggers. Brittney Brooks had a solid leadoff single that got the ball rolling.
The Longhorns would do two better in the sixth that enabled them to take a 3-1 advantage.
Michala Cretsinger led off with a double, then freshman Hannah Brooks crushed her sixth home run of the season that broke the deadlock.
Once again the Warriors would answer.
Olivia Kelly and Kaitlyn Roberts reached on a pair of singles. Whitaker’s double tied the game at 3-3.
The back and forth affair continued after regulation play but nothing got decided because both teams scored twice in the ninth.
Cretsinger ignited Johnson County’s rally with a triple off the left field fence scoring Marley Eggers who had singled. Miller’s sacrifice fly put the Horns in front 5-3.
Brooks recorded the first two outs in the ninth but couldn’t induce the last one before two runs would score. She hit Roberts, then Whitaker followed with her second homerun to pull the Warriors even at 5-5.
The 10th frame brought out the international tie-breaking rule where a runner was placed at second base to start the inning.
Freshman Natalie Winters had an infield single and Eden Fenner reached base on a perfect bunt. Eggers followed with a “Texas League” single just over the first baseman’s glove that scored two. Cretsinger’s fourth base hit made it 8-5.
Hannah Brooks pitched the 10th and recorded the save for Johnson County. She got a nifty double play by Courtney Brooks at first, then retired the final batter on a lazy fly.
Courtney Brooks earned the win with nine innings of solid work. Davis was saddled with the loss.
The Longhorns had a season high 16 hits in the game.
Cretsinger led the way going 4-for-5 with two RBIs. Eggers and Winters were 3-for-5 each. Fenner chipped in with two base hits. Brittney Brooks, Courtney Brooks, Hannah Brooks and Wills provided one apiece.
Whitaker paced the Warriors offense, going 3-for-4 with two homers and five RBIs. Davis was 4-for-5. Roberts and Kelly added two hits each.
“This was a huge win for us,” said Winters who caught the entire game. “Beating Elizabethton and Happy Valley back-to-back is something special. It’s got us playing with some confidence.”
Blevins loved what she saw especially during the last two innings.
“I’m so proud of our kids for not quitting,” said Blevins. “We were a tad flat to start the game, but they kept clawing back which is something we didn’t do in our previous games. They didn’t back down which is something you love to see as a coach. This is definitely something that we can build on.”
Johnson County 000 012 002 3 — 8 16 1
Happy Valley 000 100 202 0 — 5 11 2
C. Brooks, H. Brooks (10) and Winters. Davis and Kelly.
WP—C. Brooks LP—Davis
HR—JC (H. Brooks) HV (Whitaker 2)